The Dragons’ Den concept is brilliant in its simplicity: creating an environment in which employees can — and want to! — let their creativity run wild and present their innovative ideas without inhibitions. Each idea is tested by an independent innovation board in terms of feasibility and potential to create value. For BDO and for clients, directly or indirectly. Patrick: “Every one of our nearly 1,000 employees has the opportunity to pitch an idea. There is only one condition: if you decide to join in, you have to commit yourself to the project. On the other hand, depending on the phase in which the idea grows and becomes more concrete, they also get a budget and the time to put it into practice. Knowing that nobody — and this is extremely important — is being judged on the evaluation by the innovation board.”
Stopping is a possibility, failure is not. Carmaker Henry Ford was once fined because his first car made too much noise. Imagine that would have stopped him! Drawbacks are just a part of innovation and entrepreneurship. “More important than the value and success of an idea is the spirit of innovation that we aim to cultivate,” Hennie emphasises.
Successful innovation only works within the right culture. A culture that is open to creativity in an atmosphere of trust. The direct result — the innovation in itself — is important, but the underlying effects are at least as valuable. Hennie: “Innovation also gives energy. “It makes you look at things differently as an organisation, you are taking off the blinders. Anyone who never changes anything about a product, service or process risks dozing off. Put bluntly: ‘The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be enough for tomorrow’.” At the same time, stimulating and using talent increases employee involvement, reduces turnover and has a positive effect on job satisfaction, enthusiasm and wellbeing. Ultimately, it will also benefit your employer branding.